In a Word . . . Misanthrope

Ms Ann has never had it so good. Or so acquaintances believe. She insists on being addressed as Ann without the "e", that most popular letter in the English language. Ms Ann hates popularity, even when it includes slender vowels.

Popularity, to her, means shallow.

Humble consonants would be her preference, it is said. Especially double consonants, everywhere present, nowhere noticed. As in Welsh. Llandudno or Llywelyn, for example. Her idea of ecstasy, all agree, has to be that Welsh place name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

In so far as Ms Ann does ecstasy.


Social distancing has meant spring 2020 has had to be her happiest time, all agree. The edict that people remain 2m (6ft) apart has meant all her Christmasses have come at once. In so far as Ms Ann does Christmas.

That such people avoidance is now seen as courtesy rather than disdain on her part is a bonus. Gone is the hostility her rudeness can provoke. Not that this perturbs her, but who needed the irritation!

Someone, somewhere heard her favourite quotation was from Jean-Paul Sartre’s play, No Exit. A character there pronounces: “Hell is other people.”

It was speculated that when Ms Ann heard it that first time she must have felt like jumping to her feet and shouting “Yessss!” But, consonant with her disposition, she wouldn’t have. Positivity is alien to her.

In literature as in life she appears attracted to the absurd, the futile, to purveyors of the dark and dreary. She has no time for the light, the happy, the cheery, believing it dross and evidence of superficial intelligence.

Not that she is ever depressed, as she would insist in rare discussion. Then introspection is not her thing. Or insight. She has never shown any interest in delving into her own psyche to understand why she has such dislike of people. Why should she? It is who she is.

Understanding why does not interest her. Besides the reasons are self-evident, she has said. As is her problem with all authority.

An acquaintance swears he heard her even challenge the computer at check-out in a local supermarket when a disembodied voice told her “please don’t forget your change, especially notes.” True or not she only ever goes to a check-out assistant, where nothing is said.

Misanthrope, from Greek misanthropos , "hating mankind".